Varanasi Religious & spiritual activities

Our most recommended Varanasi Religious & spiritual activities

Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour & Monkey Temple

1. Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour & Monkey Temple

Start your full-day of exploration with a convenient pick-up at your accommodation. You will meet your driver/guide at 11:00 AM in the lobby of your hotel and set off on your adventure to find out why the city holds such religious importance in the Hindu mythology.  Your tour will start with a visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple - a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Witness the beauty of a temple that is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (the holiest Shiva temples) in India. Here, in the Hindu belief system, visiting the temple and dipping yourself in the waters of the holy Ganga River is considered to be the way of achieving Moksha (liberation). Continue on your tour to visit the famous Monkey Temple, also called Durga Temple. Marvel at the temple's beautiful carvings, inlaid stones and the holy water pond called 'Kund'. Follow your temple trip with a visit to 'Tulsi Manas Mandir', where Hindu scripture Ramayana was originally translated by Tulsidas from the Sanskrit language to Awadhi dialect in 16th-century. Admire the temple walls that display scenes and pictorials from the Ramayana in the form of paintings. You will also get the chance to see Bharat Mata Temple, also called Mother India temple. Here you can see the undivided relief map of India carved out of marble.  Add to the list of beautiful temples visited with a trip to Birla Temple, also known as Marble Temple, another famous architectural structure dedicated to Lord Shiva. After a fascinating full day tour of Varanasi city, the tour will complete and you will be safely dropped back at the hotel.

Varanasi: Full-Day Tour of Temples, Sarnath and Aarti

2. Varanasi: Full-Day Tour of Temples, Sarnath and Aarti

Your private tour will start early with 5:00 AM pickup from your hotel. See the morning aarti ceremony as the sun rises, a magical spiritual experience. After this you’ll visit the main temples in Varanasi, including Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Monkey Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, and Birla Temple. These are famous for their ornate carvings and historical significance.  Continue to Sarnath, a must-see in Varanasi. Your guide will teach you the history of this Buddhist pilgrimage site, as you explore the beautiful ruins of Buddhist monuments. See the incredible Dhamekha Stupa, where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Then visit the Sarnath Archeological Museum, the Lion Capital of Ashoka, and at a monastery with beautiful wall paintings.  Head back into town to watch the evening aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges. Watch the ceremony, where a supreme priest offers prayers o the holy river with a sacred brass lamp. The ceremony involves lights, cymbals, incense, and people singing hymns and chanting. After an amazing day of sightseeing, you will be dropped safely back at your hotel. 

From Varanasi: Sunrise Boat Tour and Heritage Walk

3. From Varanasi: Sunrise Boat Tour and Heritage Walk

One of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities and one of the most holy for Hindus, Varanasi is the true embodiment of culture, mythology, heritage, and a real face of India. A city situated at the banks of the holy Ganges and known for its many ghats (embankments made in stone steps where pilgrims perform rituals) and large number of temples, this is definitely one of the best places to get to know India. Set off on an early-morning tour and explore this ancient city at dawn. Enjoy a boat ride past many colorful ghats and to where you can see people practicing their many rituals. One popular ghat is the Manikarnikaghat, where Hindu cremation takes place. Witness a funeral pyre there. Your tour will start with a pickup from your hotel by your guide at 5:00 AM in the summer or 6:00 AM in the winter. After reaching the ghat, get into the boat for a memorable ride on the Ganges where you’ll get to watch the city come alive with the sun. Once the boat ride is complete, walk through the oldest part of Varanasi and experience the rich culture and heritage of this mystical city firsthand. Get dropped off at your hotel at the end of the tour.

Delhi: 6-Day Golden Triangle & Varanasi Private Tour

4. Delhi: 6-Day Golden Triangle & Varanasi Private Tour

Begin the first day of your trip with a pickup from your hotel or other desired place in Delhi, Noida or Gurugram. Start with a half-day city tour of Delhi. Visit Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, and India Gate. Drive by Parliament House and the President's Palace. After that, proceed to Agra via a 4-hour drive. Upon arrival in Agra, check in to your hotel.  On day 2, you will get up before sunrise, and head to the Taj Mahal to watch the sun come up over this world-famous monument. You will spend two hours exploring the site. After that, return to your hotel for breakfast and to check out, and then spend an hour visiting the Agra Fort. You will then start the 5-hour drive to Jaipur. After breakfast the following day, you will enjoy a guided tour of the Amber Fort. Next, visit the Jal Mahal, a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, followed by the Maharaja’s City Palace. Drive past the beautiful Hawa Mahal, a large structure built so the women of the royal household could observe the streets outside whilst remaining hidden.  After breakfast on day 4, you will be transferred to Jaipur airport for your domestic flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival at Varanasi airport, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel to check in. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.  In the morning of day 5, you will be driven to Assi Ghat, where you will watch the Hindu fire ceremony rituals performed by women priests. Next, enjoy a sunrise boat tour on the River Ganges to see the Ghats of this ancient city. After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Varanasi which includes the Banaras Hindu University and its temple, a traditional school where children are learning an ancient version of Sanskrit, and a historical wrestling ground.  On day 6, if you have not chosen the option with a return flight to Delhi, you will be transferred to a location of your choice in Varanasi. If you have chosen the option with the flight, upon arrival at Delhi airport, you’ll be dropped off at a location of your choice in Delhi, Noida or Gurugram.

Varanasi: Temples, Ganges Aarti, and Classical Dance Tour

5. Varanasi: Temples, Ganges Aarti, and Classical Dance Tour

Start with an afternoon pickup from your hotel at 3:00 PM. First make your way to the most famous and important temples of Varanasi, the Goddess Durga temple. Learn of the many interesting stories and myths attached to this temple from your guide. Visit the Bharat Mata temple or the Mother India temple. This temple is one of a kind in the entire country where rather than idol worship, there is an undivided map of India, symbolizing the worship for one’s motherland. Visit the Monkey temple, which is dedicated to the monkey god, and the Tulsi Manas temple which has the one of the two greatest epic Ramayana engraved on its wall. See the Shri Vishwanath temple in Banaras Hindu University which is reputed to be one of the tallest in the entire country. After exploring the temples, head towards the Assighat for the evening aarti. An experience which is claimed to be magical by people from all around the world, it includes priests using fire as an offering to the river Ganga with the help of oil lamps. A ritual that goes back to centuries ago, it often attended by a huge number of people from around the world. After attending this aarti, enjoy a cultural dance performance by local artists where they enact a beautiful sketch from an epic or other mythological instance. Afterwards, be returned to your hotel.

Morning Aarti and Private Varanasi City Tour

6. Morning Aarti and Private Varanasi City Tour

Begin your tour bright and early at 5:00 AM. You will be picked up from the lobby of your hotel to proceed towards Assi Ghat where the Morning Aarti (Subh e Banaras) takes place. The vibrant sound of the mantras, recited by the pundits during Aarti, will leave you spellbound. After that, proceed back to the hotel for morning breakfast. Later, leave for a city tour of Varanasi. During this part of the tour you will visit Banaras Hindu University, Asia's largest residential university, Birla Temple (Vishwanath Temple), the Bharat Kala Bhawan museum, Monkey Temple, Durga Temple and Bharat Mata Temple.  Hotel drop-off at the end of the tour.

From Varanasi: Temple Hopping with Transfers

7. From Varanasi: Temple Hopping with Transfers

First make your way to the most famous and important temples of Varanasi, the Goddess Durga temple. This is one of the most revered temples of the region, built in a striking red color. Learn of the many interesting stories and myths attached to this temple from your guide.  Next up is the famous Monkey temple or the Sankat Mochan temple, which is dedicated to the Monkey God. Known to relieve people from every sort of pain and trouble, see pilgrims in large numbers paying their respects here. Also, see the many curious monkeys roaming about the streets. Visit the Tulsi Manas temple, another famous and revered temple in the region. Dedicated to Saint Tulsi Daas, the writer of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, the walls of this temple have the entire Ramayana craved on them. Visited by people from all over the world, be amazed to see how the walls of this two-storey temple depict the epic poem. Next see the Bharat Mata temple or the Mother India temple. This temple is one of a kind in the entire country where rather than idol worship, there is an undivided map of India, symbolizing the worship for one’s motherland. Finally, explore the Shri Vishwanath temple in the Banaras Hindu University, which is known to be one of the tallest temples in India and has a lot of interesting stories and fables attached to its construction.

Varanasi: Morning Guided Boat Ride with Yoga

8. Varanasi: Morning Guided Boat Ride with Yoga

The tour starts with a morning boat ride. Our representative will pick you up at 5:30am from your hotel lobby. From there, we will drive towards Dashashwamedh ghat and board a boat for a ride to Manikarnika ghat. On this boat ride, you will learn about the significance of various ghats from an expert guide. You will view numerous temples, and witness the morning rituals of people taking a dip in the holy Ganges. You will also visit the famous cremation ghat, Manikarnika, where last rites are practiced.  After deboarding at the Manikarnika ghat, you will walk across the narrow lanes towards Assi ghat. There you will enjoy an hour-long yoga lesson from Yogini Smiriti before being returned to your hotel. 

Varanasi: Private Lecture on Hinduism with Professor

9. Varanasi: Private Lecture on Hinduism with Professor

Learn more about the history and culture of India with a 1 or a 2-hour lecture on iconography (an area of study of art history), Hinduism, and spirituality. This private lecture will be given by an experienced professor from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi. The discussion can be held at a cafe, in your hotel lounge, or at any other location which is most convenient for you. The lecture will be given by either Dr Maruti Nandan Tiwari, Dr Rana Singh, or Dr Kamal Giri. During the lecture, you can ask any questions related to the topic, or about the culture and religion of Varanasi. After the lecture you, will be dropped back at your hotel. 

Private Sarnath Excursion with Evening Ganaga Aarti

10. Private Sarnath Excursion with Evening Ganaga Aarti

Start your spiritual tour of Sarnath with a convenient pick-up at your accommodation. Meet your driver at 2:00 PM in the lobby of your hotel. After a short meet and greet, you will take a scenic 10 km drive to Sarnath, one of India's main pilgrimage sites for Buddhists.  Upon arriving in Sarnath, your guide will immediately take you on an architectural tour of all the most historically important buildings in the area. Marvel at the truly unique Buddhist architecture and learn about some of the buildings' history. This location is sacred and considered to be the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment.   Next, visit Chaukhandi Stupa where Buddha met his first disciples. Peruse through excavated artefacts and striking Ashoka Pillars at Sarnath Archeological Museum. Admire the fine paintings on the walls of the monastery that was built in the 1930s at Mulagandhakuti Vihara. After your tour of Sarnath, you will be driven back to Varanasi to attend the grand evening Ganga Aarti at the famous Dashashwamedha Ghat. Be a part of the spiritual evening Aarti where you will witness something truly special. Be in awe of vividly decorated stages with flowers, cloths, brass lamps, musical instruments and, holy offerings. Hear the soulful hymns and prayers accompanied with mantras and immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere. After the evening Ganga Aarti, you will be dropped back to your hotel in Varanasi city.

  • Guided tours
  • Multi-day trips
  • Private tours
  • Day trips
  • Water activities

Other Sightseeing Options in Varanasi

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What people are saying about Varanasi

Overall rating

3.6 / 5

based on 14 reviews

Bhawna was an amazing tour guide: knowledgeable, professional, sweet and calm. She made all three of us feel very comfortable and we learnt a lot about the city and the culture. Her English was very good and it was easy to understand everything. She was open to questions about the society as well as the thing we did and saw. She was also flexible for changes in the program as we had already done a few thing that she had planned for us to do. Would highly recommend to anyone visiting Varanasi!

We had a great tour, everything was nicely planned. Our guides provided us with interesting insights and the drivers were also very helpful and reliable. Would definitely recommend this tour!

On time. Informative. Incredible experience. Highly recommended.